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RADICAN’S NJPW “WRESTLE KINGDOM 12” PPV REPORT
JAN. 4, 2016
AIRED LIVE ON NJPW World
Kevin Kelly and Don Callis are on English commentary.
NEW JAPAN RUMBLE MATCH
A new entrant comes out every minute. Eliminations come from pinfall, submission, or over the top rope. Katsuya Kitamura was out first. BUSHI was out next. Delirious was the next entrant in the match. Nice of him to set aside time for NJPW during Wrestle Kingdom weekend this year. Leo Tonga was out next. Callis called Tonga and Kitamura future world champions. Tonga is the son of Haku. Manabu Nakanishi was out next. It looked like he was going to get blown up from the long run to the ring. Chase Owens was out next. Owens hit a package piledriver on Delirious. His shoulders weren’t down so the ref counted to two, stopped, and then counted one, two, three. BUSHI got tossed over the top Tonga to eliminate him. Yuji Nagata was out next to a nice pop. The fans fired up for a forearm exchange between Nakanishi and Nagata. Tonga got eliminated off camera. Callis and Kelly said it took two men to eliminate him. Taka Michinoku was out next. Nagata rolled him up for an elimination. Owens and Kitamura then stacked Manibu on top of Nagata and then they got on top of him for a stacked pin. The ring was cleared and it was now down to Owens and Michinoku. Yoshinobu Kanemaru was out next. He worked with his Suzuki-Gun stablemate Michinoku to put a beating on Owens.
El Desperado was out next. Owens tried to eliminate Michinoku and Kanemaru before Desperado could get to the ring, but he couldn’t do it. All three men from Suzuki-Gun beat up Owens. Owens tried to mount a comeback, but Kanemaru blew mist in his eyes and tossed him out of the ring. Callis said Suzuki-Gun should attack the ref as they stood tall in the ring. Jushin Liger’s music then played and the fans fired up as he made the long journey to the ring. Liger ran wild on all three members of Suzuki-Gun until he went for a surfboard on Desperado that got broken up quickly. Tiger Mask was out next. The fans fired up as he ran to the ring to help Liger. Suzuki-Gun tried to take off Tiger Mask and Liger’s masks. Tiger Mask fired back and nearly got Desperado’s mask off his head. Gino Gambino was out next. He’s from Australia. Kelly said he fancies himself as a tough guy, but he’s not. Liger got eliminated. Tiger Mask and Desperado both had their maks taken off and they were eliminated. Gambino eliminated Michinoku. Callis laughed at Kelly for calling Gambino fake tough. Henare was out next with just him and Gambino in the ring. Henare does a savage gimmick so of course Gambino went for a headbutt and ended up hurting himself. YOSHI-HASHI was out next.
David Finlay was out next. Henare and Finlay hit a combination of moves on Gambino and made a double cover to eliminate him. HASHI then dumped Henare to the floor. Finlay rolled up HASHI for a surprise elimination. Yujiro Takahashi came down with a lovely lady as Callis went nuts on commentary. It was down to Finlay and Takahashi. Finlay skinned the cat to avoid elimination, but Takahashi clotheslined him right out of the ring. Takahashi can now wait for the next entrant. He went to the floor and celebrated with his lady. They danced together. The next wrestler out was Cheeseburger and he got a big pop. Takahashi cut him off when he got close to ringside and went to town on him on the floor. Satoshi Kojima was out next to a good pop from the crowd. He nailed Takahashi with the cutter quickly. Takahashi fired back and hit a fisherman buster. The next entrant was Hiroyoshi Tenzan. The fans fired up and clapped to his music as he made his way to the ring. Tenzan nailed Takahashi with double chops. The final entrant was Masahito Kakihara, who Kevin Kelly said overcame a battle with cancer. Tenzan and Kojima ran wild on Takahashi until Kojima pinned him after a lariat. It came to Tenzan, Kojima, Kakihara, and Cheeseburger. Kakihara went after Kojima and Tenzan with some big kicks to the chest. Cheeseburger and Kakihara tried to work together to chop their way back into the battle, but it didn’t work out so well for Cheeseburger. Tenzan and Kojima charged at their opponents. They pulled the ropes and both Tenzan and Kojima spilled to the floor. It was down to cheeseburger and Kakihara. Kakihara quickly pinned Cheesburger with a modified STO for the win.
Winner: Masahito Kakihara – The match wasn’t anything great, but this is a great story with Kakihara beating cancer and trying to help raise money for Yoshihiro Takayama, who is injured.
Kakihara cut a promo thanking the fans and saying he’s trying to pay forward the help he got when he had cancer. He continued to cut a passionate promo and the fans fired up. This was tremendous.
(1) IWGP Jr. Hvt. Tag Team Champions Roppongi 3K (Sho & Yo w/Rocky Romero) vs. The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson). Nick came in on commentary and he said the young boys had their titles. The fans chanted for both teams before the match began. Yo countered Matt and got him in a sharpshooter, but Matt got to the ropes. Nick ran into the ring, so Yo put him into a sharpshooter. Matt then put Sho in a sharpshooter. Matt and Yo began slapping each other while holding sharpshooters. They let go and both teams eventually went back and forth before Roppongi 3K stood tall in the ring. Yo and Sho did the signature tandem knee strike on Nick in the corner that Roppongi Vice used to do. Sho and Yo then wiped out The Young Bucks with stereo dives to the floor. Yo appeared to be hurt on the ramp. Yo favored his back and Kelly said he might have landed on the edge of the stage. He crawled to the apron and Nick hit a high bridge German on the apron on Yo. WOW! The Young Bucks went after Romero. Matt hit a running powerbomb on him on the ramp. The Young Bucks continued to focus their attack on Yo’s back when they got back inside the ring. Matt hit an apron bomb on Yo on the outside and tossed him into the ring. Nick made the cover, but he kicked out at the last second. Yo sent Matt crashing on his back. Matt sold his back, but Yo was unable to tag out. Sho ran in to help Yo, but the ref forced him back to the apron and Nick ran right into the ring and continued to work over Yo’s back. Matt favored his back as he dragged Yo to the entrance ramp. Matt went for a powerbomb, but Yo countered it into a backdrop.
Yo tried to get back into the ring, but Nick nailed him with a dropkick. Nick held him up for a dive, but Yo moved and he ended up hitting Matt. Sho got the hot tag and went after The Young Bucks. Sho wiped out Nick with a flurry of kicks for a 2 count. Sho hit a series of rolling Germans on Matt. He held on and tagged Nick, but Sho dragged them both into the ring and hit a double German! WOW! They set up for 3K on Nick, but Matt made the save. Nick wiped them both out with superkicks, but Yo fired right back and hit a superick on Nick. They went for 3K, but Nick countered out of it into a hurricanrana. Sho then ended a big back and forth flurry with a clothesline and everyone was down. WOW! Matt tagged in and favored his back. Both men with hurt backs went at it. Both men hit forearms to each others backs. They went back and forth until Matt powered Yo into a buckle bomb/kick combination in the corner. Yo then got hung up for Nick’s signature swanton for a near fall! The fans fired up and Matt put Yo in the sharpshooter. Sho tried to make the save, but Nick wiped him out. Matt dragged Yo back to the center of the ring, but Yo fired up and got the ropes! WOW! The Young Bucks set up for more bang for your buck, but Matt couldn’t get him up. Nick helped Matt get him up. They went for more bang for your buck, but Yo countered it into a pinning combination for a near fall. Yo got the single leg crab on Matt. Nick tried to break it up, but Sho ran in and caught Nick in a single leg crab. Nick held Matt’s hand to prevent him from tapping out
Nick finally kicked Sho into Yo to break up the submission. This is tremendous! Sho and Nick went back and forth trading bombs in the middle of the ring. Nick stopped and nailed Yo with a kick to the back, so Sho kicked Matt in the back. Matt and Sho took turns kicking Matt and Yo’s backs. They went at it again and Nick caught Sho with a superkick! Nick then nailed Sho with an insane twisting dive to the floor! HOLY S–T! Matt caught Yo with a superkick and nearly fell out of the ring. He dragged himself back in the ring, but couldn’t get to his feet. Matt lifted Yo up and Nick came down for the IndyTaker. Nick then locked in a deep sharpshooter for the win! WHAT A MATCH!
Winners: Matt & Nick Jackson to become the new IWGP Jr. Hvt. Tag Team Champions
Star rating: (****1/2) – Both teams told a great story with Yo hurting his back early and then Matt hurting his back. Yo and Matt became the target whenever they were at a disadvantage. The match had great storytelling and built to a fantastic finish.
(2) NEVER Openwei ght Six Man Tag Team Championship match: IWGP Never Openweight Six Man Tag Team Champions Bullet Club (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa & Bad Luck Fale) vs. Beretta & Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano vs. Michael Elgin & War Machine (Hanson & Rowe) vs. Suzuki-Gun (Taichi & Zack Sabre Jr. & Takashi Ilzuka) vs. Taguchi Japan (Juice Robinson & Ryusuke Taguchi & Togi Makabe). Suzuki-Gun of Takahasi Ilzuka, Zack Sabre Jr., and Taichi were out first. Michinoku was out with them and he held Ilzuka on a leash as he ran wild around the venue. The first team out to face them when Hanson & Rowe & Michael Elgin. Suzuki-Gun jumped them right away and the match was off to a wild start. Elgin hit a one-arm vertical suplex on Ilzuka that drew some applause from the crowd. Hanson went up top and then turned himself around for a moonsault, but Iizuka moved out of the way. The pace picked up as both teams went back and forth. Taichi ate Thor’s hammer from War Machine. Taichi rolled out of the ring with the ref an Suzuki Gun broke up a fallout attempt on Sabre. Sabre got a triangle on Rowe. Rowe tried to lift himself out of it, but he collapsed and Sabre got a combination choke to eliminate his team. Hanson & Rowe & Michael Elgin are eliminated.
The next team into the Gauntlet was Chaos of Beretta & Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii. Suzuki-Gun jumped them while the ref had his hands full trying to get the steel glove off of Ilzuka’s hand. Ilzuka went after Yano with the glove, but it backfired and Yano hit a low on Sabre and rolled him up for the win. Taichi & Zack Sabre Jr. & Takashi Ilzuka were eliminated.
Taguchi Japan was out next with Juice Robinson & Togi Makabe & Ryusuke Taguchi.Taguchi Japan was in control for the early part of the match. Taguchi did his Nakamura imitation to set up for a hip attack on Yano, but he countered into into a rollup for the win! Taguchi & Robinson & Makabe were eliminated.
The champions were out next as Bullet Club as Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa & Bad Luck Fale made their way to the ring holding their belts. Ishii could not get Fale off his feet whether it was power move attempts or clotheslines. Ishii hit a big headbutt to the chest and lifted up Fale for a suplex and the fans applauded! Fale fired back and caught Beretta with a kick while holding Ishii on his shoulders. He then hit a Samoan drop on Ishii. Bullet Club then began working over Beretta. Trent ate gorilla warfare and Fale cleared the apron. Beretta went for a moonsault, but Tonga caught him with a gunstun in mid-air. He went for the cover, but Yano broke it up! Beretta eventually caught Tonga with the dude buster and it was good for the win.
Winners: Beretta & Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano to become the new NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Champions
Star rating: (**1/2) – This was a good dose of action to get several guys onto the card that didn’t have a spot. The final fall between Chaos and Bullet Club was the best action of the match, but the rest was good too.
(3) Cody Rhodes (w/Brandi Rhodes) vs. Kota Ibushi. I don’t know what Cody was going for with his cape for his entrance, but it had a Little Red Riding Hood vibe to it. Cody and Brandi wore matching outfits. Brandi said she was the most beautiful woman in wrestling and if you don’t agree you’re a simple mark. Kelly said he took credit for ROH’s 29% increase in business in 2017. Kota Ibushi was out next and the fans fired up. Ibushi took out Cody and Brandi with a slingshot splash to the floor. He didn’t mean to hit Brandi and he kneeled next to her and then picked her up and carried her. Cody punched Ibushi and he dropped Brandi and they both collapsed to the mat. Brandi and Cody then laughed and it was all a ruse to bait in Kota. Brandy gave Cody a chair and distracted the ref. Cody then nailed Ibushi with the edge of the chair several times. Cody went to hit Ibushi with a full chairshot, but he got out of the way. Ibushi hit a dropkick through the ropes and the fans fired up. Ibushi set up for the golden triangle and connected! WOW! Cody hit a combination of kicks and a standing moonsault for a 2 count. Brandi grabbed Ibushi’s leg while he was going for a suplex, which gave Cody the upper hand. They went at it on the apron and Cody hit cross Rhodes to the floor! Ibushi struggled, but managed to make it back into the ring before the ref reached the count of 20. Cody tried to lift Ibushi, but he collapsed to the mat. Cody hit a springboard hurricanrana for a near fall. I was not expecting that out of Cody! Ibushi blocked cross Rhodes and hit a lawn dart and both men were down!
They got up and exchanged blows. They continued to trade blows and Ibushi hit a palm strike and then the last ride for a near fall. WOW! Ibushi signaled for his knee strike finish, but Cody ducked it and hit a lariat for a 2 count. Cody taunted Ibushi and said he doesn’t love you like I love you referencing Kenny Omega. Ibushi ducked a disaster kick, but Cody blocked another knee strike from Cody. He then hit a tiger suplex and a big knee strike, but he didn’t make the cover! Ibushi went up top and hit the phoenix splash for the win!
Winner: Kota Ibushi
Star rating: (***3/4) – This was a very good singles match here. They also managed to tie Kenny Omega into the match as well. Ibushi had the match won with his new finish, but he used his old finish the match. Cody has now lost two high profile matches in a row.
(4) IWGP Hvt. Tag Team Champions K.E.S. (Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith Jr.) vs. L.I.J. (EVIL & SANADA). Smith and Archer hit the killer bomb on EVIL right away after sending SANADA to the outside, but he managed to dive back into the ring to breakup the pin. Later in the match, EVIL went up top, but Smith cut him off from the outside. Archer then hit a one man Spanish fly on EVIL. WOW! The replay showed it was more of an overhead throw. Both sides tagged out and SANADA went at it with Smith. He hit him with his signature dropkick sequence. SANADA had the skull end on Smith, but Archer broke it up. They went back and forth and SANADA flipped out of chokeslam, but Archer caught him again a short time later and connected. Smith then hit a Saito suplex with a bridge, but EVIL made the save. K.E.S. caught EVIL with the Hart attack. They then went after SANADA, who tried to fend them off on his own. They caught SANADA with the killer bomb, but he kicked out on his own! WOW! EVIL ran in and hit everything is EVIL on Archer. He then hit the legend killer on Smith with SANADA, but he kicked out! SANADA got right up and hit the snap moonsault for the win.
Winners: SANADA & EVIL to become the new IWGP Hvt. Tag Team Champions
Star rating: (***1/2) – L.I.J. started out at a HUGE disadvantage, but made a fantastic comeback to get the win in the end.
(5) NEVER Openweight Champion Minoru Suzuki vs. Hirooki Goto in a Hair vs. Hair match with Suzuki-Gun banned from ringside. Goto hit a big slap early. Suzuki fell backwards and retreated. They traded blows and Suzuki hit a big slap and grabbed a sleeper, but Goto managed to back Suzuki into the corner several times. He managed to break it, but Suzuki got the sleeper and then he lifted up Goto while sitting on the top turnbuckle before letting him go. Goto went limp and the ref and doctor checked on Goto. Suzuki sent the doctor and the ref away and went after Goto, but the ref backed him up. Suzuki attacked Goto on the floor and he was still in bad shape. He went after him with a chair and the fans tried to rally behind him as he crawled back into the ring. Goto fired back and hit several big chops as Suzuki laughed. He then decked Goto with a big right hand. Goto finally fired back and hit a running bulldog. Suzuki countered Goto’s signature neck breaker and got a hanging guillotine. He then grabbed the sleeper. He went for the Gotch piledriver, but Goto blocked it. Suzuki slid around Goto a short time later and grabbed the sleeper and immediately went for the Gotch again, but Goto blocked it and hit the neck breaker over his knee. Michinoku and Desperado ran out, but The Young Lions cut them off. Taichi ran out, but YOSHI-HASHI cut him off. Goto finally gave him a big forearm and he finally got off the apron.
Goto and Suzuki went at it again, but Suzuki caught Goto with a dropkick as he came off the ropes. Suzuki caught Goto with multiple slaps. He then hit one big slap to the face and grabbed the sleeper once again. Callis said it was over on commentary. Suzuki let go of the hold as the ref checked Goto’s arm. He went for the Gotch and got Goto up, but Goto fought out of it and drove him into the corner before hitting a HUGE clothesline. They battled up top and Suzuki hit a headbutt. He grabbed a front facelock up top and really sunk it in deep. Goto continued to try to fight out of it. He got Suzuki up over his shoulder and hit an avalanche neck breaker over his knee! WOW! Suzuki grabbed Goto’s arm, but he fought back with forearms with his other arm. Suzuki would not let go and Goto hit a huge strike. He then leaned right into a headbutt to the chest from Goto that cut him off. Goto then hit a front GTR! Goto lifted Suzuki and hit the Goto revolution for the win! WOW!
Winner: Hirooki Goto to become the new NEVER Openweight Champion
Star rating: (****) – This was great. Goto took one hell of a beating and just would not allow Suzuki to put him away. This was a good hard-hitting encounter between two of the toughest NJPW has to offer.
Kelly said the head shaving would take place in the ring. Suzuki-Gun came out and helped Suzuki to the back. Suzuki held a towel over his head as he went to the back. The ref went after Suzuki and told him he had to come back. Suzuki went back on his own. Suzuki went to the ring with a chair. He hit the chair that was set up for him and used his own chair. He grabbed the clippers from Goto and began shaving his own hair. The fans gasped as Goto shaved off the longer back part of his hair. He slammed the hair onto the chair and walked away after looking at Goto.
They announced the upcoming big events for 2018. G1 Climax begins on July 14. The big announcement was that the finals would not be at Sumo Hall this year, but instead on Aug. 10, Aug. 11, and Aug. 12 would be at Budokan Hall, which is a bigger venue than Sumo Hall. This would indicate NJPW is expecting bigger business for G1 Climax 28 this year.
(6) IWGP Jr. Hvt. Champion Marty Scurll vs. Will Ospreay vs. Hiromu Takahashi (w/Daryl) vs. KUSHIDA. Ospreay decked Takahashi early playing back on the buildup between these four men. Scurll stayed on the outside of the beginning. This was a little slow to get going, but it was excellent during the second half. The highlight of the early action was Ospreay climbing the lighting rig and hitting a moonsault to the floor that wiped out everyone. They had some incredible sequences with all four men going back and forth. At one point, Takahashi hit sunset bombs on Ospreay and KUSHIDA over the top to the floor. KUSHIDA returned the favor later in the match by hitting a sunset bomb over the top to the floor on Takahashi. They built up to just Ospreay and Scurll going at it in the ring. Ospreay ended up hitting the Os-cutter for the win. This match highlighted the best of all four men, which is hard to do in a four-way match, but they pulled it off.
Winner: Will Ospreay to become the new IWGP Jr. Hvt. Champion
Star rating: (****1/4) – This was really good. Ospreay finally overcoming Scurll and beating him for the title made for a good story.
The pre-match video package for Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Jay White showed Jay White being asked why Tanahashi. He said he wanted to face the ace of NJPW. Tanahashi was shown speaking as well. White said Tanahashi was waiting for someone to knock him off his thrown in a dark setting. Definitely a contrast of light and dark between the two in the pre-match video. White said he didn’t think the old Tanahashi was there anymore.
“Switchblade” Jay White was out first. The sound of a knife scraping a metal surface was shown. White made his way out with his switchblade chain. Fireworks went off all over the stage as White made his way down to the ring. As White made his way to the ring, more fire shot out of the stage. This is an incredible entrance, especially for someone like White, who is getting a huge match like this early in his career. White’s gear had the five count slashes in red font.
Tanahashi was out next. White was shown in the ring with his head buried in the turnbuckle pad. Tanahashi came out and stood at the top of the ramp and strummed his air guitar before heading to the ring. White then stared Tanahashi down as he got close to the ring before he was backed away.
(7) IWGP IC Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Jay White. The fans were red hot and chanted for Tanahashi after the opening bell rang. Tanahashi went for a slingshot to the floor early in the match. He missed and favored his knee. This plays into the storyline of White targeting his knee in the build to the match. White went right after his leg on the floor and tied it around the guardrail before nailing it with a kick. They ended up back inside the ring and White continued to target Tanahashi’s leg. Tanahashi slipped behind White when he tried to lift him, but his knee buckled. White immediately hit a dragon screw on Tanahashi’s leg. Tanahashi finally caught a kick attempt from White and hit a dragon screw.
Tanahashi set up for a sling blade, but his leg buckled. They ended up in the corner and Tanahashi trapped one of White’s legs in the ropes and hit a dragon screw on the other. He then hit another dragon screw around the ropes a short time later. The first really big offense for Tanahashi in the match came when he hit a standing high fly flow off the top to the floor on White and the fans fired up. White fired back a short time later back inside the ring and hit a gutwrench German. Tanahashi rolled to the floor and White went right after him and hit a brainbuster from the floor to the apron. White went up top and stalked Tanahashi before getting back down when he saw he was stirring. The fans gasped and White hit a huge chop on Tanahashi in the corner. White kept saying, “Is this the ace?” He taunted Tanahashi and said show me the ace, so Tanahashi fired back and hit some huge slaps. White suplexes Tanahashi into the turnbuckles. He followed up with a Saito suplex and then a DVD driver for a 2 count.
A short time later, White went up top. Tanahashi side stepped a missile dropkick from White and hit a dragon screw! Tanahashi followed up with a neck breaker and was clearly laboring to get up top. White cut him off and they battled up top. White ended up draped over the top rope and Tanahashi hit an avalanche spinning neckbreaker! Tanahashi fired up, but White hit a snap dragon. He got right up and hit White with a sling blade. Tanahashi countered White and hit another sling blade for a 2 count! Tanahashi went up top and hit a standing high fly flow. The fans fired up and Tanahashi went up for a second high fly flow, but White got out of the way and the fans gasped! White immediately got Tanahashi in a crucifix and hit several elbows to the head. White set up Tanahashi for the Kiwi crusher, but Tanahashi kicked out at the last second! Tanahashi countered blade runner into a snap dragon suplex for a 2 count a short time later.
The fans fired up as Tanahashi slowly climbed to the top. White ended up using the ropes to get to his feet. Tanahashi slapped him across the face and hit a standing high fly flow across the back of White. He went up top and hit the high flow for the win! Tanahashi appeared to have busted his nose open at some point during the match, as it was clearly bleeding after the finish.
After the match, Tanahashi glared at White, who rolled out of the ring. Kelly said Tanahashi wasn’t ready to give up his kingdom yet.
Winner: Hiroshi Tanahashi to retain the IWGP IC Championship
Star rating: (****¼) – They told a good story with White working over Tanahashi’s injured leg after Tanahashi missed a slingshot dive early in the match. White was really good here as a heel, although he’s got a lot of room to grow. He had good presence and taunted Tanahashi throughout the match asking him if he’s still the ace. They never went to a lot of big near falls as White hit his old finish on Tanahashi for good near fall, but he never was able to hit his new blade runner finish. By winning the match, Tanahashi showed he’s still one of the big four in NJPW, which is something Kevin Kelly hammered home on commentary.
A video package aired before the Chris Jericho vs. Kenny Omega match with a shot of Tokyo and a caption saying Dream Match. They went to highlights of Jericho in NJPW. They highlighted the career path of both men with Kenny Omega being billed as “Best Bout Machine.” They showed both men sitting down talking about the match. Jericho said he’s the best of all time and Alpha vs. Omega is not just a catch phrase.
They showed Jericho attacking Omega and leaving him bloody at the World Tag League Finals and the match being made a No DQ match. Jericho walked out of his interview and Omega was shown saying Jericho drew first blood and would have to kill him to win.
Fireworks went out on the stage and Jericho’s new theme played. His signature jacket was shown with the lights flashing. The lights came up and Jericho began walking down to the ring with his light up leather jacket and scarf. Smoke filled the background as it was shot up from the stage while
Jericho walked to the ring. Jericho puckered his lips and sneered once he got into the ring. They got a really cool closeup of Jericho with a spotlight in the background.
Kenny Omega was out next. His signature theme played and he came up through the stage wearing a helmet with horns and carrying a futuristic looking weapon. The Young Bucks came out and walked down to the ring with him as flames shot out all over the stage. Omega’s helmet was really cool looking. Omega did his signature gun point with his huge gun. Omega was wearing blue and black tights.
The ref didn’t seem to want The Young Bucks at ringside. Jericho jumped Omega as he hugged The Young Bucks. Several Young Lions ran in and pulled them apart. Jericho told The Young Lions to leave and Omega sent The Young Bucks aaway. Omega wore his hair with braids and a bun.
(8) IWGP U.S. Champion Kenny Omega vs. Chris Jericho in a No DQ match. The bell rang and both guys ran at each other and went at it. This match has a huge big match atmosphere as the crowd was into every strike early. Jericho grabbed the ref and raked Omega’s eyes even though the match is No DQ. Callis shouted that this was a double main event as Omega hit some HUGE chops to Jericho’s chest. Kevin Kelly said the match added tens of thousands of subscribers to NJPW World, which was directly credited to this match. Jericho fired back and got the lion tamer. Omega got ot the ropes, but the match is No DQ. Omega fought Jericho off and sent him to the floor. He set up for The Terminator dive, but switched to a baseball slide when Jericho got up. Omega kicked Jericho through the ropes a short time later and he went over the barricade. Omega went for the Terminator dive, but Jericho got out of the way and Omega went over the guardrail and through the English announce table. He wiped out Don Callis, but Kevin Kelly wasn’t hit. Jericho applied the walls of Jericho on the Omega on top of the rubble. He shoved the ref and then slapped his son, who is a Young Lion, and put him in the walls of Jericho. Omega recovered and slammed Jericho into the debris from the table at ringside. He hit him with a monitor and Kelly got knocked off the air. The brawl continued at ringside and Kelly got back on commentary with Callis. Omega climbed a lighting rig and hit a double stomp off of it on Jericho. The match was just a crazy brawl at this point and the announcers getting knocked off air definitely added to the drama on the English feed.
They brawled near the apron a short time later. Omega went for a springboard, but Jericho hit an inside out dropkick and Omega came up favoring his knee. Omega sold his midsection as Kelly talked about Omega just getting over a knee injury. Omega sold his knee heavily as well. Jericho grabbed a table and taunted Masahiro Chono, who was on Japanese commentary. Jericho went for a powerbomb and OMega tried to punch out of it to avoid going through a table and Jericho ended up powerbombing him right on the floor. Jericho grabbed a camera and flicked the fans off. Omega tried to fire back, but Jericho tossed him into the ring and hit a big elbow. Each time Omega mounted a comeback, Jericho was able to cut him off. Jericho hit the lionsault and the fans popped big. Jericho smiled at the crowd before getting a 2 count on Omega.
Omega finally cut Jericho with a snap rana and clotheslined him over the top to the floor. The fans fired up and clapped the Terminator theme. Omega fired up and hit rise of the Terminator as the fans gasped and then applauded. They got a great low angle shot of Omega flying over the ropes and landing on Jericho on the ramp. Omega got on track and fired up. The fans applauded as he set up for a V Trigger. Jericho cut him off and went for the walls of Jericho, but OMega turned it into a pinning combination for a 2 count. Omega then hit a big V trigger. They went back and forth and Jericho got the walls of Jericho and the fans gasped. Omega tried to crawl towards the ropes. He grabbed the ref and then grabbed the apron. He came back with a spraycan. He sprayed Jericho in the eyes and then sprayed himself all over. The fans popped and Omega seemed refreshed. Jericho told the ref that he can’t see. He shoved the ref into Omega. Omega went after Jericho, who countered him and sent him flying into a chair set up in the corner. Jericho got a towel and wiped his eyes. Jericho sent Omega head-first into the chair in the corner several times. Jericho taunted the crowd and Callis said over 40,000 strong were booing him.
Jericho then set Omega up and sent him through the chair and it made a huge sound. Jericho laid down on the top turnbuckle and the fans booed. Omega came up bleeding from the head. It’s amazing how well Omega bumps. Jericho sent him off the ropes for an elbow and Omega sold it great. Omega fired back and hit a V trigger and a snap dragon suplex. Omega’s head made for a wild picture with his hair all over the place and blood all over his face. Omega went for the one-winged angel, but Jericho punched out of it only to take a snap dragon. Jericho got up and obliterated Omega with a broken a chair that was already broken, so it made a huge noise upon impact and the fans gasped. Jericho hit Omega with the chair several times across the back until it broke. He then hit him with the frame of the chair after the seat fell off. The fans booed when he held up the chair.
Jericho mocked the fans chanting Kenny and went up top. Omega suddenly flew into the picture and nailed Jericho with a big dropkick. Omega then hit a V trigger that sent Jericho off the top through a chair. The fans lost their minds. This match has far surpassed my expectations. It has been wild and insane up to this point.
Omega tried to clean his cut with some water and then he tossed Jericho back into the ring. Omega measured Jericho and hit a big V Trigger and then another. Omega got a running start and hit a third V trigger. He then hit a double underhook backstabber for a near fall. Omega measured Jericho and hit a sick running V trigger off the ropes. The fans gasped and Omega set up for the one-winged angel, but Jericho rolled through! Jericho grabbed the walls of Jericho and the fans went nuts. Jericho screamed from Omega and he was bleeding from the mouth. Omega struggled towards the ropes, but Jericho dragged him to the center of the ring and got a high angle on walls of Jericho. Kelly asked if Omega would quit or if Red Shoes would stop the match. Omega shook his head and grabbed the ref’s hand. The ref asked him if he wanted him to stop the match. Omega finally grabbed the rope to force the rope break. Jericho went after the ref and shoved him over. Omega countered the code breaker into the V Trigger. Omega hit the one-winged angel, but Jericho grabbed the bottom rope at the very last second!
A short time later, Omega went up top, but Jericho got to his feet and crotched him. They battled up top, but Omega slid under Jericho and sent Jericho face-first into the top of the turnbuckle. Omega missed his signature second rope moonsault sequence and Jericho hit a code breaker for a near fall. This match is being wrestled at such a high level right not. It’s unreal. Jericho went for a lionsault, but Omega threw a chair at him. Jericho held to the ropes and Omega delivered a one-winged angel on the chair for the win.
Winner: Kenny Omega to retain the IWGP U.S. Championship
Star rating: (*****) – The is one of the best matches Omega has had in NJPW simply because it elevates him up to a new level as a performer. Omega has a rep for having great matches in NJPW, but this match showed he can do so much more.
The pre-match video package for Kazuchika Okada vs. Tetsuya Naito showed Naito doing a sit down interview with the G1 Climax briefcase. Footage of Naito was shown before and after his transformation to his current gimmick. They showed highlights of Naito facing Okada at the Tokyo Dome for the IWGP Hvt. Championship in a losing effort after he won G1 Climax 23. That was the match that was placed in a semi-main event after a popular fan vote.
They showed Okada laughing a smiling talking about the match in Japanese. The clips showed Okada hitting a rainmaker on Naito at their first dome main event. The video package definitely did a good job of establishing that they are two very different people since their first dome match.
Tetsuya Naito was out first and the fans lapped along to his music and chanted his name as green lasers shot all around the arena. What an atmosphere. Naito came out wearing a cape, a white suit, and what appeared to be a wolf mask. Fire shot up as Naito made his way to the ring. The Naito chants got louder and louder as he made his way to the ring. What a moment with Naito finally getting his Tokyo Dome main event.
A video played showing Okada from different angles as the Tokyo DOme went dark. Okada flicked a coin and it landed. The fans gasped and hit theme music kicked in. WOW! Okada then appeared on the stage accompanied by Gedo. Okada glared at the ring and hit the rainmaker pose from the top of the ramp as Okada money fell from the roof. The announcers hit on Okada being the longest reigning IWGP Hvt. Champion in the history of NJPW. The fans fired up once Okada hit the ring and hit his pose. Naito was shown not even looking at Okada, who was posed in the background. What a shot that was! WOW! The NJPW production team has gotten some really great shots of the dome and the wrestlers. The announcers said Okada has a cobra hold that can counter the destino of Naito.
Naito slowly took his clothes off. Okada was wearing long tights for the first time. With a mix of gold and several other colors. Naito was finally ready and Red Shoes called for the bell. The fans went nuts chanting for both men.
(9) IWGP Hvt. Champion Kazuchika Okada vs. G1 27 Winner Tetsuya Naito. Naito kept ducking tieup attempts from Okada. Okada finally went after him and they ended up in the ropes. Naito teased a chop and backed away. He then nailed Okada with a kick to the gut. They picked up the pace and both guys went back and forth. Naito duked a clothesline and hit his pose in the ring and the fans fired up. Okada just looked at him with no emotion. Natio went to the floor to stall. Natio went on the attack, but Okada countered him in the corner and hit his signature dropkick to send Naito to the floor. They brawled near the barricade and Naito snapped Okada’s neck over it. He then turned Okada around and hit a neck breaker over the guardrail. Calis mentioned that Okada’s neck has been an issue for him during the past year. The action eventually ended up back in the ring and Naito hit a missile dropkick for a 2 count. Naito continued to target Okada’s neck inside the ring. Naito hit his signature dropkick in the corner followed by a neck breaker. He made a light cover and only got a 2 count. He then worked a cravat on Okada as the fans gasped. Okada finally mounted a comeback and went on the attack.
Okada was rolling after hitting a running kick all the way around the ring on the outside and then a draping DDT on Naito off the guardrail. Once they got back into the ring, Naito cut him off and went right back to work on his neck. Okada flipped out of destino and hit a big flap jack on Naito and both men were down. Okada went up top and dropped an elbow. He hit the rainmaker pose, but Naito elbowed out of it right away. Okada then grabbed a cobra clutch, but Naito fought out of it. They went back and forth and Okada got the cobra clutch again. Okada got the cobra clutch on the mat and the fans fired up as Naito struggled to free himself. Okada maintained the hold when Naito tried to stand up and roll through on him. The fans fired up and Okada screamed and applied more pressure. Naito suddenly scooted to the ropes and got the rope break he needed. Okada fired back and tripped Okada on the apron. He draped Okada over the top rope and hit a big neck breaker!
Naito placed Okada up top a short time later and hit a poison hurricanrana for a near fall that had the fans gasping. That was nuts. Naito hit Gloria and went up top for the stardust press, but Okada got out of the way. Seeing Naito go old school was crazy. The fans fired up as both men regrouped. Kevin Kelly asked if the long reign of Okada would end tonight. They got up and began exchanging blows. They ended up exchanging forearms at the same time, but Naito got the better of Okada, wh9o went down to one knee. They went back and forth trading kicks until Okada sent Naito flying across the ring with a shotgun dropkick. Naito fired back with a flying forearm and both men were down once again! Naito placed Okada up top a short time later.
They traded punches until Okada sent Naito down to the mat. Okada set up to the side of the turnbuckle and went for a dropkick, but Naito got out of the way. Naito hit a slam and went up top. Okada got right up and grabbed him down off the top. Naito held onto the ropes for dear life. Okada kept pulling and he finally freed Naito and hit a HUGE German suplex. Okada held on and went for a rainmaker, but Naito ducked it. Naito came off the ropes and went for a forearm, but Okada got out of the way and hit a rainmaker for a near fall. WOW! The replay showed that Okada got all of that rainmaker. Okada stood over Naito and slowly lifted him to his feet. He went for a tombstone, but Naito tried to fight out of it. Naito finally slid out and over Okada, but he collapsed to the mat.
At around the 30 minute mark in the match, Okada ducked an enzuguri from Naito. He applied the cobra clutch again, but Naito slid out and hit destino out of nowhere and both men were down. The fans fired up with both men down on the mat. They got to their knees and began exchanging blows as the 30 minute mark was passed. They continued to trade blows and got to their feet. Okada glared and then continued to trade blows with Naito. The pace picked up as both guys began tagging each other with forearms and the crowd chanted along with each one. Okada ran out of steam and had nothing behind his forearms. Naito spit at Okada and slapped him across the face. Okada collapsed to the mat. Okada countered Naito in the corner, but Naito countered him as he went for an Alabama slam and hit a modified code red for a near fall. Okada blocked destino and hit a HUGE rainmaker before collapsing to the mat. Okada hung on to Naito’s wrist like he did against Tanahashi at WK 10. The fans were going crazy at this point.
Naito ducked a rainmaker and hit destino for an insane nearfall. You’ve got to be kidding me! WOW! This match has been very different than Jericho vs. Omega, but it’s been an incredible, long, and drawn out war. The fans fired up and Naito screamed. He went for another destino, but ate an elbow from Okada. Okada hit an uppercut and staggered while favoring his head. Naito hit a step-up enzuguri. He then caught Naito with the too awesome dropkick. The replay showed the incredible height Okada got on it. The fans fired up and Okada went for the tombstone and hit it as Naito was kicking his legs. WOW!
Okada screamed and set up for the rainmaker, but Naito countered it into the destino. He went for a second, but Okada hit a jumping tombstone. Okada held onto his neck and grabbed Naito. He then obliterated him with a rainmaker for the win. Calis said Naito was knocked out from the last rainmaker.
The announcers questioned if anyone would ever beat Okada. Gedo jumped into the ring and celebrated with Okada, who slumped into the Okada.
They did a ceremony after the match and placed the belt around Okada’s waist. Naito was shown collapsing as he tried to make his way to the back. Gedo got on the mic and had some words from Naito. Okada stood slumped over as Gedo cut a promo that fired up the fans.
Okada grabbed the mic and had some words for Naito. He talked about Tokyo Dome main events. Naito smirked at him as he continued to talk and the fans applauded.
As Okada made the long walk to the back, Kelly noted they had sold 34,995 tickets and over 40,000 were in attendance with comps. He plugged New Years Dash on NJPWWorld.com on Jan. 5.
Winner: Kazuchika Okada to retain the IWGP Hvt. Championship
Star rating: (*****) – It’s very special to see someone wrestling as champion as Okada has for nearly the duration of the last two years. He is one one heck of a roll and it seems like he’s conquered everyone in his path at this point. It will be a huge moment when someone unseats him. I would rank this match ahead of Jericho vs. Omega. Wrestle Kingdom 12 presented wrestling fans with a very special night.
Overall thoughts: (10.0) – This was an incredible show. The card really delivered from start to finish with the only down not being the NJPW pre-match Royal Rumble. The last two matches were both classics and very different from each other. Okada appears to be entrenched as a dominant champion for the time being.
If you didn’t watch the show on NJPWWorld, I definitely recommend watching the three hour special on AXS TV, which debuts Jan. 6 at 8p.m. EST. This special features Jay White vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kenny Omega vs. Chris Jericho, and Kazuchika Okada vs. Tetsuya Naito. Over the next five weeks, AXS TV will air new episodes of NJPW on AXS that feature the rest of the Wrestle Kingdom 12 card as well as an encore presentation of the top three matches. Jim Ross and Josh Barnett will be on commentary for allof these events on AXS TV.